The three Moldovan pro-EU opposition parties agreed on October 13 to support Maia Sandu as their sole candidate for October 30 presidential elections, deschide.md reported quoting Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) leader Viorel Cibotaru.
Despite the announcement, it it remains unclear whether this is the final decision by the PLDM, Dignity and Truth Platform (PPDA) and Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS). Sandu’s rival PPDA leader Andrei Nastase did not attend the meeting, despite his party’s pushing for a decision on the joint candidate, and he mentioned “manipulation” in a statement released after Cibotaru’s announcement.
The decision was made the day after the PPDA invited the PAS, in a statement issued on October 11, to choose between Nastase and Sandu as the single candidate of the pro-EU coalition by 2pm on October 13.
Nastase’s reference to manipulation appears to be connected to the release of two polls on the morning of October 12 by sources close to the ruling coalition. The media, largely controlled by the ruling coalition through Vlad Plahotniuc, has constantly encouraged the conflict between the two potential candidates of the pro-EU opposition.
Previous polls indicated that Nastase would get more votes than Sandu in the first ballot of the presidential elections, but fewer than her in the second ballot against pro-Russian Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon. However, neither would defeat Dodon, according to the polls.
Before the decision was made, the PPDA proposed to its partners to back Nastase for the presidential campaign, but also said it would support Sandu’s candidacy if no agreement is reached. The PPDA also promised to back Sandu for the prime minister seat if early elections were held - a distinct possibility in case of a Nastase presidency.
The party’s October 12 statement claimed that Nastase had demonstrated “more commitment, resilience and force”, therefore would be better equipped to face Dodon in real-life situations and to promote reforms as president.
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